A new eastern bypass would alleviate congestion in places such as Military Road, says the council

City Greens reject eastern bypass proposal

The Green Party has denounced city and county council plans for an eastern bypass in Canterbury.

It fears a new road linking the A28 at Sturry with the A2 at Bridge would worsen congestion, encourage more driving and involve the destruction of countryside.

The announcement that the two authorities were intending to build the road came on Thursday when city council leader Simon Cook said it was vital to meet the needs of business and a growing population.

But Henry Stanton, of the Canterbury Green Party, believes the road will do little to reduce congestion in the city.

“In fact, in the longer term it will encourage greater car use and involves tearing up the countryside,” Mr Stanton said.

“It would cost a lot of money that would be better spent on public transport and cycle paths and make a further contribution to the urgent crisis of global warming.”

The Green Party points out that Canterbury City Council’s own traffic data suggests that 86% of car journeys are within the city limits.

It wants the authority to invest in bike, bus and train travel.

And it called on the council to explain why when it was drawing up its Local Plan, the planning blueprint for the years up to 2031, it did not envisage greater car use around the district. The plan comprises almost 16,000 new homes, including 4,000 at the controversial Mountfield Park development on farmland to the south of the city.

Mr Stanton went on: “It is bizarre that over the last few years, the council has claimed that all these new houses are likely to have a negligible effect on traffic.

“It has said measures being put in place, such as the proposed Sturry and Herne bypasses, plus extra bus lanes, plus a shift towards use of bikes and public transport, will ensure that the traffic flows freely.

“If this is the case then why is there a need for a new bypass? In the discussions about the south Canterbury developments, it was explicitly said that there would not be an eastern bypass.

“All the traffic modelling for this development, as well as for the Local Plan was based on no eastern bypass. So what’s the truth here?

“Is this bypass actually completely unnecessary or has the council not presented an accurate picture about the likely traffic impact of these new houses?”

The city’s Lib Dem group has welcomed the bypass, but warned that its announcement had come too late to forestall legal challenges being mounted over air quality.

Labour has yet to outline its position on the bypass.

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